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More Marawi buildings cleared

By: Francis T. Wakefield

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday said that government troops continue to gain more ground in its quest to clear Marawi City of Daesh-inspired Maute terrorists after 38 more buildings were cleared in Day 83 of the operations.

According to the AFP’s Joint Task Force Marawi, from 10 buildings cleared as of Saturday, an additional 38 buildings were cleared as fighting was reportedly intense in the main business district of the city.

At least 11 IEDs (improvised explosive devices) have also been recovered.

Joint Task Force Marawi and Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) spokeswoman Captan Jo-Ann D. Petinglay, said at least 400 structures in a one square km area is still yet to be cleared of Maute terrorists.

Petinglay said at an average, troops are able to clear at least 15 structures a day.

“In the past few days soldiers were only able to clear two buildings, it depends on the structure. For example if its a six-story building, it takes about one or two days before this can be cleared. The structure is much higher and has more IEDs. We also think about the presence of the hostages, that’s the challenging part,” Petinglay said.

Despite more buildings are getting cleared, Petinglay said troops have yet to get closer or reach the main group.

Meanwhile, Petinglay said the remaining terrorists holed up in Marawi could be between 30 to 50 while the remaining hostages could be around 40, of which 20 are women.